Using digital games in the classroom doesn’t have to break the bank. Teachers and students can take advantage of free, content-rich, browser-based digital game hubs with hundreds of potential games to choose from. Educators can use these games for teachable moments, warm-ups, homework assignments, re-teaching concepts – the list goes on and on. I originally wrote this post for MindShift back on March 27, 2014. Please enjoy it and use the games hubs as resources for instruction.
Written by: Ryan Schaaf
Web-based games can prove to be a treasure trove of learning opportunities, and there are a variety of content-areas, age ranges, and skill levels to choose from. The true pay dirt for browser-based learning games can be found on large online digital game hubs. Here are 10 game hubs players that teachers can use to as one tool in their arsenal.
Headed by Brad Sheppard, Sheppard Software hosts hundreds of free, online, educational games for kids. The site organizes its games into categories, which allow students and teachers to easily navigate by subject area and find a suitable game that caters to either an instructional need or a child’s sense of curiosity and thirst of knowledge and challenge.
PBS KIDS creates curriculum-based entertainment. The games site hosts a number of browser-based gaming experiences based on popular literary and media franchises such as The Cat in the Hat, Curious George, Sesame Street, and more. Games are organized by subject-type, which includes math, healthy habits, science, reading, and teamwork.
3. Mr. Nussbaum
Created by Greg Nussbaum, a Virginia public school teacher, Mr. Nussbaum boasts over 3,500 content pages with a wide variety of learning games organized by content type and grade level. This site is also optimized for use on a tablet and an interactive whiteboard.
The world-famous National Geographic hosts over 100 fun, engaging, and interactive science, action, adventure, geography, quiz, and puzzle games. For a free game hub, the production quality on games or interactives such as Wildest Weather, On the Trail of Captain John Smith, and The Underground Railroad: Journey to Freedom is truly remarkable.
Under the creative direction of Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Poptropica® is a virtual world in which kids explore and play in complete safety. Every month, millions of kids from around the world are entertained and informed by Poptropica’s engaging quests, stories, and games.
Funbrain, created for kids ages preschool through grade 8, offers more than 100 fun, interactive games that develop skills in math, reading, and literacy. Plus, kids can read a variety of popular books and comics on the site, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Amelia Writes Again, andBrewster Rocket.
The British counterpart of our PBS, the BBC, offers interactive digital games and activities involving subjects such as literacy, numeracy, history, mathematics, music, and the arts. The games are also categorized into age ranges. The cartoon graphics are very appealing for children, but the content is stellar for teachers and parents that want children to play to learn.
With games and activities that meet curriculum needs for math, science, language arts, and social studies, Primary Games houses over 1,000 game titles. The site includes curriculum guides for teachers to use in conjunction with the games.
This game site offers teacher-created and approved educational computer games for elementary students to learn math and language arts on the web. Featured by The New York Times, Apple, and Fox News, ABCYa.com provides young children well-crafted games and activities.
Arcademic Skill Builders are online educational video games that offer a powerful approach to learning basic math, language arts, vocabulary, and thinking skills. Arcademic games challenge students to improve their scores through repetitive, timed learning drills that provide immediate feedback.
Ryan Schaaf is Assistant Professor of Technology at the School of Education at Notre Dame of Maryland University.